3 Steps to improve your English
1 Improve Your spoken English
English lessons for adults
Speak a little English every day. The absolute best way to learn any new language
is just to speak it. It doesn't matter if you only know five English words or if you're
practically fluent -- speaking English with another person is the fastest, most
effective method of improving.
Don't wait until you "feel more comfortable" speaking in English -- you probably won't
reach that level for a long time, so push yourself outside of your comfort zone and
start speaking English today. You' ll be amazed at how quickly your language skills
Find a native English speaker who is willing to spend some time speaking English
with you -- you may be able to offer them a language exchange, where they spend
30 minutes speaking English with you and you spend 30 minutes speaking your
native language with them.
If you live in an English-speaking country, you can practice by starting simple
conversations with the people you meet, whether it's saying "hello" to a shopkeeper
or asking a stranger for directions.
Learn spoken English
Work on your pronunciation. Even if you have an acceptable grasp of the English
language, with good grammar and an extensive vocabulary, native English speakers
may find you very difficult to understand if you don't work on your pronunciation.
Correct, clear pronunciation is essential if you really want to improve your level of
English. Listen closely to how native English speakers pronounce certain words and
sounds and do your best to copy them.
Pay particular attention to any sounds that you are unfamiliar with or that do not exist
in your native tongue. For example some people have difficulty pronouncing the "r"
sound, as it does not exist in their native language, while other people have difficulty
with certain consonant clusters, such as the "th" sound.
Be aware that the pronunciation of certain English words varies greatly depending on
the part of the world it's spoken in. For example, American English is very different
from British English. If you intend to travel to or live in an English-speaking country,
this is something you should take into account when learning how to pronounce
Expand your vocabulary and use idiomatic phrases. The wider your vocabulary
and the more English phrases you learn, the easier speaking English will become.
Again, spending time with native English speakers will help you to pick up on
common vocabulary and phrases in a natural way. Although reading, watching
English TV and listening to the news is also beneficial.
Once you have learned a new word or phrase, you should make an effort to use it in
a sentence -- this is the best way to commit it to memory.
Another easy way to commit new words to memory is to make labels for everyday
household items and stick them around your house or apartment. Then every time
you use the kettle or look in the mirror, you will see the English word for these items
staring back at you.
You should also start a notebook of idiomatic phrases that English speakers use all
the time. Some examples include "it's raining cats and dogs" (raining heavily), to be
on "cloud nine" (to be very happy) or saying something is a "piece of cake" (when
something is very easy). Sprinkling these kinds of phrases into your conversation will
bring your level of English up several notches.
Attend an English class or discussion group. Another great way to incorporate
some extra English conversation into your weekly routine is to sign up for a class of
Attending an English class is a great way to focus on some of the more formal
aspects of speaking English. A class will teach you the grammatically correct way of
speaking -- which includes proper sentence structure and verb conjugation and will
generally provide a very structured approach to language learning.
Attending a discussion group is a more informal and relaxed way of learning English,
where the emphasis is more on communication and relationship building than on
speaking "correct" English. Speaking English in this setting can help you to become
more comfortable with speaking in front of other people.
Both of these language-learning settings have their pros and cons, so it's best to do
both if you can!
Carry a dictionary. Carrying an English dictionary with you at all times (whether it's
an actual book or a phone app) can be very useful.
Having a dictionary means that you will never be stuck for a word. It can save you a
lot of embarrassment if you're having a conversation with an English-speaker and
forget a word in the middle of the sentence -- all you have to do is take a second to
look it up!
Aside from saving you awkwardness, looking up the word you need then
immediately using it in a sentence will actually help you to commit the new
vocabulary to memory.
It is also helpful to have a dictionary to peruse throughout the day during private
moments, like when you're sitting on the train, waiting to cross the street or just
having a cup of coffee. You could learn an extra 20 to 30 English words per day
using this technique!
As a beginner, you should start with an English dictionary that provides definitions in
your native language. However, once your language skills improve, you should
switch to using an English-English dictionary, which provides English definitions for
2 Improving Your Writing, Reading and Listening Skills
Listen to English radio or podcasts. One of the best ways to improve your English
listening comprehension is to download English-language podcasts or radio apps on
your phone or MP3 player.
You should then make an effort to listen to the podcasts or radio shows for at least
30 minutes per day. Do it in the gym, on your commute to work, or while you're
sitting at your computer.
Make an effort to understand what's being said, don't just let the English wash over
you. Even if you find it too fast, try to pick out key words and phrases to get a
general idea of what the conversation is about.
If you can, make a note of any words or phrases that you don't understand and look
up the translation afterwards. Then listen to the podcast or show again to hear the
new words or phrases in context.
Watch English movies and TV shows. Another fun way to improve your listening
comprehension is to watch English movies and TV shows.
Try to pick movies or TV shows that you will enjoy -- this will make the exercise feel
like less of a chore. If possible, choose movies or shows that you are already familiar
with, such as children's cartoons or blockbuster films. If you already know the basic
story you will find the language much easier to pick up on.
However, you should avoid watching movies or television shows with subtitles in
your native language -- they will only distract you and make you less inclined to
focus on understanding the English, which is the whole point of the exercise
Read an English book, newspaper or magazine. Reading is an essential part of
learning a new language, so don't forget to practice!
Find something you are really interested in -- whether that's a famous English
novel, The New York Times or a fashion magazine and start working your way
through it. If you find the content boring, you will be less inclined to persevere with it.
Again, make an active effort to actually understand what you're reading, don't just
skim over it. Highlight any words or phrases that you don't understand, then look
them up in the dictionary.
If you're alone, you could also try reading aloud -- this will allow you to improve your
reading comprehension while also working on your pronunciation.
Keep a diary in English. Aside from reading and listening comprehension, you
should also spend some time working on your written English.
This may be one of the most difficult aspects of your language learning, but it is
important nevertheless. Writing in English will help you to work on your sentence
structure, grammar and spelling.
Try keeping an English diary in which you write down a few sentences every day. It
doesn't have to be deeply personal -- you could write about the weather, what you
ate for dinner or what your plans are for the day.
If you feel comfortable with it, get a native speaker to look over what you've written
and check it for any errors. This will help you to avoid making the same mistakes
over and over again.
Find an English-speaking pen-pal. Once your written language skills have
improved, you could consider getting an English-speaking pen-pal!
Having an English-speaking pen-pal combines your English writing practice with the
excitement of getting a letter or email!
Your pen pal may be someone who is learning English like you, or they may be a
native English speaker who wants to practice their foreign language skills by writing
to you in your native tongue.
Having a pen pal from an English-speaking country (such as the United States,
Britain, Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa, for example) will
also allow you to learn more about the culture and what life is like in that part of the
3 Committing to Your New Language
Stay motivated. When learning any new language, it is important to stay motivated
and never give up on your goal of fluency.
Stay committed to your language-learning goal by reminding yourself of how badly
you want to achieve it. Think of all of the amazing experiences and opportunities that
will be available to you once you've mastered the English language.
You will be able to converse with English speakers from across the world and
develop new and exciting relationships, you will be able to engage with English-
speaking culture like never before and potentially further your career as a result of
your new language skills.
Practice every day. If you want to to gain fluency quickly, you need to commit to
practicing every day.
Learning a new language is based on repetition, so if you wait too long between
study sessions, you will forget everything you learned previously and have to start all
over again, wasting valuable time.
However, you shouldn't study so much that you grow sick of English -- try to keep
things interesting by completing a different task each day - one day of reading, one
day of listening comprehension, one day of writing practice, one day studying
However, you should never pass up an opportunity to practice speaking English, as
this is the number one most important thing you can do to gain fluency.
Train yourself to think in English. One way to make the transition from being very
good at English to being fluent is to train your brain to actually think in the English
Constantly translating from your native language into English and back again inside
your head consumes time and energy. Every language has its own nuances and
peculiarities, which makes it impossible to accurately translate from one language to
another in certain instances.
As a result, your spoken and written English will flow much more naturally and
fluently if you can just train your brain to think in English. Think of it like a switch --
when it's time to communicate in English, you need to turn your English brain on and
your mother language brain off!
Make friends with English speakers. One of the greatest tests of a person's
fluency in a second language is to put them in a room with a bunch of native
speakers and see if they can follow and contribute to the conversation.
The best way to achieve this level of fluency is to make some English-speaking
friends and hang out with them in a social setting, like in a cafe or bar.
This way, you will be forced to speak in English if you want to interact with your
peers, but it won't feel like work or study because you'll be having so much fun!
Don't be afraid to make mistakes. The biggest obstacle that stands in the way of
learning a new language is the fear of making mistakes.
This fear serves no purpose -- it is merely a hindrance that prevents you from
reaching your goal of fluency.
Don't be afraid of making a mistake and don't be shy! Of course you can't speak a
new language perfectly at the start. Try to express yourself albeit with difficulty.
Remember that everyone makes mistakes when they are learning a new language --
it's a rite of passage. You will almost certainly have your fair share of awkward or
embarrassing moments when you accidentally say something rude or incorrect, but
this is all part of the fun.
Also remember that you are not aiming for perfection when learning to speak
English, you are aiming for progress. Making mistakes is all part of the learning
process, they will help you to become better, so embrace them!